SHAMOKIN - The first-ever Coal Region Relay for Life is ready to go, according to organizers who joined two communities together in the fight against cancer.

Teams from Shamokin and Mount Carmel will converge at Kemp Memorial Stadium from 10 a.m. Friday until 10 a.m. Saturday for the annual event that raises money for the American Cancer Society.

"At the last count, we have 21 teams and more than 200 participants that will be part of the Coal Region Relay for Life," co-chair Joe Phillips said. "We have a lot more participants than last year, so that's a great sign."

Phillips and his co-chair, Heather Fernandez, of Trevorton, are inviting community members from Shamokin, Mount Carmel and everywhere in between to come out to the stadium and be a part of the event.

"You don't have to walk laps or raise money," Fernandez said. "We are trying to bring the communities together, raise awareness and have some fun in the mean time."

Some of the special events coming to this year's Relay includes the survivors and caregivers lap at 6 p.m. Registration starts at 4 p.m. at the stadium. Those in Mount Carmel that want to participate but need a ride can call Phillips at 570-850-0810 and a van will pick them up and bring them to Shamokin.

The luminaria service will begin at 9:30 p.m. Friday and the butterfly release will be held at 9:30 a.m. Saturday.

"The butterflies are $10 each and can be done in honor or memory of someone," Phillips.

Walkers at the Relay will be invited to try to join the "Catherine Reed 100 lap club."

"If you purchase a lap counter band for $3, you add a bead for every lap you do," Fernandez said. "Those that reach 100 laps, a distance of 25 miles, will receive a special t-shirt we designed for members of the club."

Reed, of Shamokin, said she began participating in the relay because several members of her family have been stricken with cancer through the years.

Throughout the event, bands such as Haela, Pandora and We the Assembly will perform, along with a number of DJs.

"We want to thank all of the bands and the DJs for donating their time to help our cause," Phillips said.

Relay for Life is not only about raising money, but awareness. Information about several American Cancer Society programs will be available, and Dr. J.C. Owens, a Shamokin dentist, will provide a free oral cancer screening from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 3 to 7 p.m. Friday.

For those who can't attend the Relay in Shamokin, the annual Bark for Life event will be held in Mount Carmel's Town Park at 3 p.m. Saturday, June 21.